Kensington St - Spice Alley

Revitalising City Streets; A new benchmark for urban renewal

Client

Frasers Property & Sekisui House

Status

Completed

Location

Chippendale, New South Wales, Australia

Size

0.22Ha

“I especially commend Turf Design Studio in collaboration with Greencliff and the project’s architects, Tonkin Zulaikha Greer, for the careful restoration and reinvigoration of some of the City’s oldest dwellings and the creation of a new, vibrant, human-scaled place for all to enjoy.”

Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney

The vision of Frasers Property and Greencliff Executive Chairman Dr Stanley Quek, Kensington Street is an important place conceived from the Central Park public domain framework. Bordering the eastern edge of the former Carlton & United Brewery site, it brings to the table Sydney’s newest laneway and sets a new benchmark for the City’s future streets.

Turf Design Studio with Aagaard Andersen have created a refined public domain that merges infrastructure and history through an interconnected network of new streets, lanes, parks and plazas, including the road connecting Broadway to Regent Street, links to Carlton Street and Central Park and the micro-laneways of Spice Alley.

Originally part of Tooth and Co brewery’s 6.5 ha ‘mini city’ established in 1835, Kensington Street’s transition from its industrial beginnings into a sought-after retail, entertainment and dining destination illustrates the power of placemaking, and the impact quality public spaces have on building communities and revitalising cities.

Together with architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer and heritage architect Paul Davies, TURF forged a cohesive design vision across the site, carefully blending the language of the public domain with the heritage of the built form.

Terrace facades have been restored; a significant initiative in retaining heritage value of the street. This provided the foundations for frontages to spill out onto the street and provide a streetscape that is activated day and night by conversation, creative hustle and culture. The Old Clare Hotel has undergone a major overhaul and through careful adaptive reuse, has joined with the former Carlton & United administration building to transform into a 5-star boutique hotel by Unlisted Collection.

Connecting through brick- lined walkways between the built form, backyards of the period terraces have been converted into a continuous back alley market, known as Spice Alley. The alley cleverly permeates the heritage fabric, evolving to serve the desires of the Chippendale community.

Kensington Street as a shared pedestrian zone provides a new place to meet, interact & stay in downtown Sydney, contributing to the evolving street typology of the city.

Permeability and flow through the various spaces along the street promotes the merging of landscape, infrastructure and history of the site, inviting a mix of pedestrian, cycle and vehicle access.

As a pedestrian shared zone, Kensington Street provides a distinctly characterful vibe to downtown Sydney. Old world charm exudes through its brick and granite features, tying in with the heritage of its surrounding architecture. Instead of regular raised kerbs, original trachyte kerbing has been uplifted and reinstated flush alongside the brick paving as a historical line and making the street feel like one unified space.

A formal avenue of trees define the central carriageway & separate vehicular movements from active building frontages. Café break out spaces have been marked by a change in brick pattern & seating placed rhythmically between plantings provides a place of respite.

Since opening in September 2015, Kensington Street has quickly become an attraction for both locals and tourists, reflecting inner-Sydney’s shifting demographic and demand for new cultural and entertainment precincts.

Foodies and like-minded creatives flock to this new destination; a synergy of Sydney’s best artistic and gastronomic communities. Resurrected building frontages spill out onto the street and provide a streetscape that is activated day and night by conversation, creative hustle and culture.

Kensington Street is now home to some of Sydney’s top restaurants, hotels and bars, including the refurbished Old Clare Hotel, Kensington Street Social, Olio and the Spice Alley hawkers market.

The street’s revamped physical connectivity and integration of cars within a pedestrian-focused environment underpins the success of the project, enhanced by the innovative paving plan and restored heritage fabric.

Kensington Street is now a vibrant new public place. The street celebrates its rich past through its resurrected built form and unified public realm, creating a flexible and multi-purpose space that can adapt to its evolving community.

Images courtesy of:

David Li Photography, Mitch Lui, Lauren Commons, Simon Wood, Whilhelm Tan, Turf Design

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